Comic Books | Review

Go, go 'Gadget' comic book!

Viper is releasing a couple licensed kid titles this week, “Inspector Gadget” and “Johnny Test.”

I’ve never watched “Johnny Test,” so I can’t tell you how true the book is to the cartoon. But it’s cute and innocuous enough. I’m guessing fans of the show will like it.

I was a big “Inspector Gadget” fan as a kid, though, so it was a treat to read that.

In this adventure, Gadget, Penny and Brain board the Orient Express and are tasked with helping a scientist make it safely to his destination. The train is crawling with M.A.D. agents, and they’re out for blood.

Gadget is clueless, of course, so it’s a good thing Penny and Brain are on hand to save the day.

It opens with the pages from the Free Comic Book Day preview and continues from there.

The book flows pretty well like an “IG” episode, and I could still hear the original voices in my head as I read.

The only place that the book fell short was in the art. The characters are recognizable, but Penny’s face is a bit off, and Gadget’s face looks almost unrecognizable in a few spots. It also appears the pages were drawn for a physically larger product, so sequences feel cramped in the current format somewhere between standard comic and digest. Odd shadow work in the coloring doesn’t help.

But if you’ve exhausted the few episodes currently available on DVD (though there are online downloads available), pick this up and share it with your kids (or keep it for yourself).

As a fun side, Viper has set up a fun website where you can apply to be an agent of M.A.D. — if you survive the test.

Eric Henrickson is a Detroit News copy editor who has also been writing about comic books, video games and anime for The News for more than 10 years. His favorite bit of geek cred so far: appearing in an online "Star Trek" fan series.